DEFRA secretary declares war on hunting

DEFRA secretary Michael Gove has moved from big game hunting supporter to anti hunter. The British government minister writes an article for the 14 July 2019 Mail on Sunday newspaper claiming wildlife should not be shot because it is sentient.

This goes against his own arguments in Parliament as recently as November 2018 when he said in Parliament: ‘The current regime allows trophies to be imported, provided that there is no impact on the sustainability of species.’

Gove’s own department, DEFRA, advises: ‘The UK government is not considering a ban.’

Gove argues in his Mail on Sunday article: ‘I want to know whether countries with rich wildlife populations couldn’t make just as much, if not more, income from wildlife tourism than from hunting.’

The answer, according to the IUCN, cited by his department, is ‘no’. In a report on hunting, the IUCN says that, ‘with effective governance and management trophy hunting can and does have positive impacts’.

Making enemies: UK politician Michael Gove

Gove’s stance is unlikely to improve the UK’s standing with Africa’s wildlife winners – Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe – which have good standards of biodiversity paid for by hunting safaris, including increasing populations of southern white rhino. Gove will, however, be popular in anti-hunting Kenya, which struggles to pay for its wildlife and where the last northern white rhino recently died.

African countries are tired of being bossed about by European politicians, as they made clear to Fieldsports Channel in this film:

Fieldsports Channel presenter Charlie Jacoby says: “Gove argues that sentience means animals should not be killed. He doesn’t mention empathy or consciousness. Since we consider almost every animal is sentient, perhaps he plans to starve himself to death? No – he continues to outsource his cruelty and eat meat, though he says he doesn’t like people taking trophy photographs of recently killed animals. He is wading into deep philosophical water, and may be too dim to realise it.

“Can Michael Gove explain to the 20,000 grateful deerstalking clients who are handed their Scottish red deer heads every autumn, that he is now politically opposed to them and to the conservation and wildlife management work they pay to carry out for the Westminster and Scottish governments?”

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